Dental Tips Blog

Mar
13

4 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Are any of these facts news to you?

  1. Mercury Fillings Aren’t Poisonous

Amalgam (silver) fillings that contain mercury are not considered dangerous, so there’s no need to panic if you still have metal restorations.

The mercury in metal fillings can’t harm you, since inhaling a mercury vapor is what’s really toxic to humans. Your restorations don’t give off enough vapor to cause any toxicity. But if you’re still worried about them, your dentist can offer a safe removal method.

  1. The Oldest Known Dental Fillings Are Roughly 13,000 Years Old

In 2017, archaeologists at the University of Bologna discovered a human body that had teeth with evidence of dental work dating around 13,000 years old. Two front incisors appeared to have holes in them that were drilled with stone tools and then filled with a tar-like mixture.

  1. White Fillings “Move” with Your Teeth

Tooth-colored composite dental fillings are made from a material that contains a combination of plastic resin and glass. The result is a strong restoration that bonds with teeth and also moves with them.

Your teeth feel hard, but they actually expand and contract on a microscopic level with temperature changes. Metal fillings expand and contract too rapidly and this extreme activity can damage teeth from the inside. But white fillings move at the same rate natural tooth structure does, making them much a much more gentle and conservative restorative option.

  1. Dental Fillings Are Preventable!

Dental treatment doesn’t have to be inevitable. By cutting down on your sugar consumption, using fluoride toothpaste, and practicing good oral hygiene, you can lower your risk for needing a dental filling.

Talk with your dentist about other preventative dental treatments like sealants and fluoride varnish.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Feb
17

Are Dental Fillings Magnetic?

Posted in Fillings

You might worry about having magnetic dental fillings since such materials set off things like metal detectors. You’d hate to hold up airport security just because of one or two filled teeth.

Or could getting metal fillings on opposite sides of your mouth seal your teeth shut with the magnetic force? It may sound far-fetched, but it’s a real concern that some people do have… Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
17

5 Benefits of Chewing Gum

Posted in Fillings

Some people think chewing gum is a rude or an unprofessional habit. There are, however, some surprising oral health benefits to popping the occasional piece of gum.

Lower Cavity Risk

Choose a gum that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, and you can actually reduce the population of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth which means fewer fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
3

3 Reasons White Fillings Are Better Than Silver Ones

Posted in Fillings

Nowadays, most restorative and cosmetic dentists offer only tooth-colored composite resin fillings. There are a few good reasons for this, as you’ll see.

White Fillings Look Natural

White fillings look more like tooth enamel than metal ones do.

When your teeth are patched up with a material colored to look like your natural enamel, no one will ever know how many fillings you have. On the other hand, people with metal restorations in their teeth may be too embarrassed to show off their smiles.

Modern dentistry combines functionality with esthetics since it’s important to have a smile you can be proud of. That’s why so many dentists have switched to offering only white fillings.

White Fillings Are Gentle on Teeth

If your smile is filled with a material that doesn’t contract at the same rate your teeth do, then it can weaken your enamel. This commonly happens with metal fillings, which can’t expand and contract at the same rate as teeth. As teeth move with time, the rigid metal forces tiny cracks in the dentin and enamel, which can let bacteria in.

Composite resin, on the other hand, moves and flexes with natural tooth material much better. This is another advantage to getting a white filling over a metal one.

White Fillings Are More Conservative

When a dentist places a composite resin filling, he or she chemically bonds it with the tooth. Metal restorations can’t bond with another structure. Because of this, they have to be made a little bigger than necessary and remove more tooth, creating a secure wedge to hold it in place. Getting a white restoration is far less invasive.

Contact a restorative dentist to figure out which kind of filling is best for your teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Oct
22

What Is the Best Dental Filling Material?

Posted in Fillings

Asking “which is the best dental filling” is like asking “which is the best fuel for your car” or “which moisturizer is best for your skin.” The point is, that it’s subjective. It depends on the person and their unique needs.

Consider the facts of some common dental materials:

Gold – This material is easy to work with and almost never breaks or wears down. Gold restorations last a long time. They tend to last longer than teeth themselves, in fact. The downside is that unless you like to show off “bling” in your smile, gold fillings are very noticeable and tend to cost more.

Porcelain – Some restorations (indirect fillings) can be made outside of the mouth much like dental crowns and then cemented into the prepared tooth. These can be made out of other materials, but porcelain is popular for its beauty and strength. Indirect restorations are stronger than fillings that are poured into teeth and cover more surface area.

Silver amalgam – Silver fillings are a classic go-to for dental restorations. They’re long-lasting and cost-effective. But like gold fillings, they’re quite visible, especially in front teeth. And unlike gold or other restorations, amalgam fillings contain mercury, a relatively harmless yet controversial ingredient.

Composite resin – Tooth colored fillings represent the standard of restorative dentistry, these days. They blend in well with teeth, chemically-bond with enamel, and are gentle to tooth structure. White fillings are made from a composite resin and tend to last the shortest amount of time, however.

You can see that picking out the right filling is a subjective matter. It’s all about what you like and what your tooth needs. Your local restorative or cosmetic dentist can help you choose the material that works best for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642

Jul
13

Are Metal Fillings Bad for Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists have used amalgam dental restorations which contain silver and other metals to fill teeth for decades.

Metal fillings have been in use so long because they are cost-effective and easy to place. In fact, you can still find some dental offices that offer them.

Such places are becoming scarce, however, for the following reasons:

Amalgam Fillings Contain Mercury

Mercury is an essential part of metal fillings because it’s what enables the filling to be shaped and placed into a tooth before hardening. This mercury stays in place and shouldn’t make you sick. But some people still worry about having a potentially dangerous substance in their mouths.

Metal Fillings Stress Tooth Enamel

Although amalgam fillings last a long time, they can put a lot of wear on teeth.

Metals expand and contract with temperature changes. A metal filling gets slightly larger in warm temperatures and shrinks slightly in cool ones. Your mouth regular experiences extremes in temperature change when you take in hot and cold foods.

The problem with this is that your teeth can’t expand and contract as fast as metals do. With time, the more rapid motions of a metal filling can weaken the enamel and cause tiny cracks that lead to sensitivity, fracture, and cavities.

Silver Doesn’t Look the Best on Teeth

Metal fillings are also falling out of favor just because people don’t like the look of them especially when there are more subtle options like white composite fillings. A tooth-colored filling is much more natural looking and is especially useful for making small cosmetic smile enhancements.

Ask your dentist about which restorative options available in your area are right for your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565

Feb
16

Dentists Taking Steps to Combat Effects of Mercury

Posted in Fillings

Starting in July 2017, a couple new initiatives are going into effect with the aim of reducing the effects of dental mercury on the environment.

Very few dental offices in the United States still offer amalgam (50% mercury) as an option for dental fillings. They are being phased out and replaced by composite tooth colored fillings which are more conservative and metal-free.

While getting a silver filling isn’t likely to put your body at risk of mercury poisoning, getting these fillings removed could gradually be doing damage to the environment.

Dentists have to clean out the metal, which generates a mercury vapor that can be harmful if they breathe in a lot of it over the course of their career. In addition, the waste gets washed down the drain and into the water supply, where it can accumulate in drinking water and seafood.

After decades of efforts to completely eliminate the use and effects of mercury-based fillings, a couple of major steps have been taken.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Clean Water Act

A part of this act requires that all dental offices in the United States install amalgam separators that trap mercury debris so it can be properly disposed of.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): Minamata Convention on Mercury

This initiative goes into effect as of August 2017 and aims to phase out mercury use in dental offices on a global level. As a start, dentists are encouraged to not provide silver fillings for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Later talks will work toward the goal of eliminating mercury use entirely by 2030.

Want to know more about smile-safe dental restorations? Talk with your local dentist about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

Oct
9

Why Can’t I Get a Metal Filling Anymore?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists still learn how to place metal fillings in dental school, but you don’t see them used much these days. If you really wanted one, it could still be done.

But there are solid reasons why metal fillings are going out of date. Most of today’s dentists open up their practices right from the start offering only white composite dental fillings, so you’re bound to have a hard time finding metal ones. Here’s why:

White Fillings – Kind To Teeth

Metal fillings don’t create a very snug seal with the tooth. Thus, they require more of the tooth to be carved out so they can be anchored in place. White ones form a chemical bond with tooth enamel so they can afford to be more minimal in design.

While amalgam restorations are strong and long-lasting, they can sometimes be too strong for the tooth. The metal expands and contracts with temperature change at a rate faster than the tooth itself does, creating tiny cracks that allow bacteria to leak in. Conversely, composite fillings “give” similar to natural teeth.

For Future Reference

White composite fillings allow for a little more visibility on dental x-rays. A large metal restoration can block the view and is better at hiding sneaky cavities. If you develop new decay, you’ll be glad to catch it early on.

Err On The Safe Side And Go Mercury-Free

Tooth-colored dental fillings don’t contain any mercury. Granted, the traces in metal fillings are too small to worry about, but not having to deal with the substance anymore is healthier for patient and dentist, alike.

Are you keeping up with recent developments in dentistry? Contact your dentist for the latest.

Posted on behalf of:
Ora Dentistry
2733 Elk Grove Blvd #180
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 975-1000

Sep
19

Do White Fillings Stain?

Posted in Fillings

Look at those gorgeous new white fillings! You might be smiling bigger and laughing louder these days, happy you’re no longer self-conscious over metal fillings.

Most folks are very glad to update old restorations with fresh tooth-colored ones. But the next order of business is keeping them in good shape.

Can your composite tooth colored fillings stain? Unfortunately, yes, your new white fillings will eventually pick up pigment from the foods you eat and darken over time. Metal fillings pick up stain, as well. You just don’t notice it as quickly. But tooth-colored fillings can discolor and get even darken around the edges. 

Can I Bleach the Stain Out?

You might now wonder: “will teeth whitening remove stain from my white fillings?”

The answer here is a disappointing no. Bleaching will lighten your teeth, but that may only make the darkened filling stand out even more.

Happily, a simple dental cleaning may do the trick. Your dental hygienist will carefully buff away surface stain while polishing your teeth. Professional tooth polishing is usually enough to get rid of all kinds of stain.

Just in case your smile doesn’t respond to a thorough polishing, there is one more solution that’s guaranteed to work.

Your dentist should be able to replace old, damaged, and deeply stained fillings with new fresh ones. This is very common for restorations in front teeth that show when you smile.

With brand-new fillings to match your smile, you’ll be motivated to brush and rinse better than ever before. You’ll also be able to keep your composite fillings white by avoiding things like:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Smoking

Schedule a consultation with your dentist to find out more on keeping your smile white.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222

Jan
9

4 Benefits of White Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Metal fillings are falling out of style as you read this.

It’s not that metal (aka “silver” or “amalgam”) fillings aren’t safe or effective. Lots of people still appreciate the strength and durability of the traditional fillings. But they are getting a little harder to find. Today’s dentists just aren’t placing as many of them as they did in years past.

Why is that?

Here are four solid reasons to get onboard with the increasingly popular white fillings that are taking over modern dentist offices:

  1. Composite Fillings Chemically Bond with Tooth Enamel

White or “composite” restorations create a tight seal with the tooth after placement. This keeps them securely in place and helps prevent cavity-causing bacteria from invading in through any leaky margins.

  1. White Fillings Are Conservative

Because metal restorations don’t bond chemically with teeth, they require the removal of more tooth structure to wedge them in place. Getting a white composite filling instead can help you hold onto more of your tooth!

  1. Go Mercury-Free!

Although the metal fillings haven’t been proven to cause any problems, some people are still nervous about their trace mercury content. With the metal- and mercury-free composite restorations, you don’t need to worry about any adverse effects.

Ask your dentist which option is right for you!

  1. They Just Look Better

You have to admit it: a mouth full of metal fillings isn’t something you’re quick to show off. When all your fillings blend in with your natural tooth color, no one ever has to know just how many cavities you’ve had. Smile without shame after you trade in your silvers for composites!

Talk with your dentist to find out how white fillings could improve your smile for the better.

Posted on behalf of:
Ambler Dental Care
602 S Bethlehem Pike C-2
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-1122

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